Infinity Tracking Slay the EU Cookie Law Monster

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In an outspoken blog post, the founder of Infinity Tracking, Paul Walsh, talks about the impending issues that are going to affect every web-based business because of the EU Cookie Law, which comes into force in May. He argues that the contradictory and unclear guidance coming from various government departments is adding to the confusion rather than helping to clear it up.

Infinity Tracking Slay The EU Cookie Law Monster

Analytics might not be strictly necessary for doing business online, but it is necessary for doing it successfully

On May 26th, the new Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (which contain the new directive which has become known as The EU Cookie Law) come into force in the UK. Intended to give website users greater control over their data, this directive demands that websites inform users of any cookies they are using.

The Information Commissioner's Office, the ICO, who will be in charge of enforcing the directive in Britain, made it clear in the guidance they issued last December that they did not think that cookies used to collect analytics data were 'strictly necessary' for the functioning of a website.

They said:

“Cookies used for analytical purposes [would be] unlikely to fall within the exception.” That is, they are unlikely to be exempt from the law.

The challenges that this poses for business have proven extremely controversial in the year since the law was passed. A survey run by Econsultancy showed that 82% of digital marketers think that the EU Cookie Law will be bad for the web.

When the Government Digital Service (GDS) published its guidance, and the accompanying blog post “It's not about cookies, it's about privacy” on the 19th March, everyone was keen to see how they would address the issue. However, in his new blog post, Paul Walsh makes clear that their advice certainly did not have the same thrust as that of the ICO, where it did not contradict it outright. He believes that things were made more confusing for business-owners than ever.

As Web Analytics Wednesday (WAW) met the ICO on Wednesday 4th April, the founder of Infinity Tracking, Paul Walsh, has given his outspoken thoughts on the whole situation, together with some concrete proposals for how business could proceed. As he says:

“Understanding how your users interact with your site, how they find it, and what they do once they get there is of fundamental importance. It might not be strictly necessary for doing business online, but it is strictly necessary for doing it well and successfully.”

Read the whole post at their blog, and contribute to the discussion.

ABOUT INFINITY TRACKING: Infinity Tracking is a cloud based analytics solution with advanced call tracking capabilities integrated into the heart of the system. We can track your customer’s journey from online, through the phone and into your CRM system.

Further Reading:
Information Commissioner's Office, Guidance on the rules on the use of cookies and similar technologies, December 2011.
Government Digital Service, Implementer Guide to Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations (PECRs) for public sector websites, March 2012.
Graham Charlton, “82% of digital marketers think the EU cookie law is bad for the web”, Econsultancy, 14 March 2012

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Jo Hodges